In our Sleeping With… series, we ask people from different career paths, backgrounds, and stages of life how they make sleep magic happen.
For Camila Coehlo, rest and self-care aren’t just wellness fads—they’re priorities, ones that she focuses on for the sake of her health. The influencer, designer, and entrepreneur was diagnosed with epilepsy as a child and manages her condition today in part by staying under the watchful eye of her doctor and creating the time and space she needs to rest.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, head trauma, infectious diseases, and developmental disorders. While the type and frequency of seizures can vary from person to person, certain triggers apply to many—lack of sleep among them. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend people with epilepsy get at least seven to eight hours every night to properly manage their condition. (Coehlo says she aims for nine.)
Another common epilepsy trigger is stress. As many of us know all too well, stress and sleep are closely linked. Stress can particularly cause seizures when it causes lack of sleep, contributing to a vicious cycle of exhaustion and anxiety.
That being said, Coehlo is all about protecting her downtime. “When you get sick, you always learn something from it,” she says. In her case, she’s learned the power of saying no to late-night Fashion Week parties. Instead, by day, she focuses on her namesake clothing brand, Camila Coehlo Collection, and her new skin-care and makeup line, Elaluz. At night, she takes a long shower, throws on something comfortable, and cuddles on the couch with her husband. Below, Coehlo walks SELF through the rest of her sacred bedtime routine.
Sleeping is my biggest priority, every single day.
I’ve said no to so many jobs when traveling because I know I need to get my sleep. For example, Fashion Week is so crazy and sleep is the last priority for most people. But unfortunately for me, if I don’t get my sleep then there’s a high chance that I could have a seizure, and I don’t want that to happen.
When I’m really ready to wind down and stop working, I take a good shower or a bath.
During the shower, I clean my skin with a good cleanser to make sure my skin is fully, fully clean. Usually I use body oil after the shower. I’ve been loving the Augustinus Bader one. It’s super rich and very moisturizing, and doesn’t make me feel sticky. Then I do a toner and a good serum. I’m very into the Dezi skin serum now.
If my skin is feeling more dry, I love the Triple Lipid Moisturizer from SkinCeuticals. Whether or not I use moisturizer, I always end up using our Elaluz Beauty Oil, which is amazing for nighttime and for morning before makeup. So even if I don’t do moisturizer, I’ll still put a little bit of oil on, because that just locks everything in. Then I use eye cream, which is our 24-Karat Eye Treatment from Elaluz. I use it morning and night. I want to make sure everything is sinking into my skin—I don’t want to do my skin care and lie on my pillow and have some of it rub off.
When I come downstairs right after my shower, I like to look cute.
Relaxed, but cute for my husband, because it’s our moment together. There are some days I just put on a T-shirt, but most of the time I want to wear cute pajamas and I feel good in them. There’s one brand that I absolutely love, Sleeper. The pajamas have these furry, feathery details, so it’s super-fancy looking, but I love silky stuff to sleep in. I even have a lot of slip dresses that I make for my brand, Camila Coehlo Collection, that I wear on my sofa because they’re just so comfortable and so chic as well.
My husband and I cook dinner in the kitchen, and then we have our moment on the sofa where we always watch something together.
We have our own series that we watch separately, and then we have the series that we watch together. We just started Serpent, which was recommended by a friend of ours. We watch anything from dramas to Narcos. We just finished The Affair, which is also something we liked. According to my neurologist, the more screen time I have in the evening, the worse my sleep is probably going to be. Even when I watch TV on my couch with my husband, we try to keep one of the other lights in the room on so it’s not just that TV light popping on our faces.
I try to go to bed a bit earlier than my husband, because it might take me half an hour or an hour to fall asleep.
We try going upstairs at 9:30, 10 p.m. max. That’s when I have my real wind-down moment. When I come back upstairs for bed and brush my teeth, I apply my final skin-care product, which is our overnight facial from Elaluz. It makes your skin supersmooth, has amazing ingredients in it, and gives you a slight tan the next day. I love it because it’s a very subtle color. You can build it up. My skin needs to be more dry before putting that on—if I put it right on top of oil or anything, it won’t act the same. Some days I do a sheet mask and want to pamper myself more. Some days I actually do a little facial from home, or I use a little steam. Especially now during COVID-19, I’ve done a lot of that since we couldn’t go out and get facials.
It’s good that my husband and I have the same taste—we like to keep our bedroom very neutral.
We like to avoid a busy environment in the bedroom. One of the rules we’ve had since we got married is not to watch TV in the bedroom. We actually do have a TV there, but we never turn it on. So always when we get to bed, it’s our sleeping time. It’s our sanctuary where we really relax. I have very neutral furniture. There are some mirrored little details in our nightstand and some wood details that make it feel homey. We don’t have diffusers or anything like that—we try to keep it very simple.
My doctor has really touched on reading before bed. If I don’t feel like reading—if I’m too tired—I’ll do a meditation on Headspace.
He tells me, “Instead of being on your phone before going to bed, try to read something. If you’re reading a book, try to do it before bed because it helps you sleep better.” Doing some type of meditation also really helps me take my mind off of any stress or anything that I have to do the next day. Having the app there just talking to you—and doing the right breathing—helps me sleep better.